The Fatal Shore

The Fatal Shore: The Epic of Australia's Founding by Robert Hughes is a history of the birth of Australia out of the suffering and brutality of Britain's convict transportation system. It also addresses the historical, political and sociological reasons that led to British settlement. It was first published in 1986.

The Fatal Shore: The Epic of Australia's Founding
AuthorRobert Hughes
SubjectHistory of Australia
PublisherAlfred A. Knopf
Publication date
Media typehardback
AwardsDuff Cooper Prize 1987[1]
WH Smith Literary Award 1988[2]
ISBN0-394-50668-5 First Knopf edition

Hughes was a native of Australia who became a well-known art critic, living in Europe and then New York, where he became art critic for Time magazine. Hughes's interest in Australia's convict era began in the early 1970s, when he was filming a TV documentary about the history of Australian art that took him to Port Arthur in Tasmania.[3]


Publication history

The Fatal Shore was originally published in 1986 by Alfred A. Knopf in the United States and by William Collins in the UK, and subsequently published in paperback the UK by Collins Harvill in 1987. The Folio Society published a slipcased premium edition in 1998, extending to a fourth printing in 2006.


  1. "Past Winners of Duff Cooper Prize". Duff Cooper Prize charity. Retrieved 1 November 2017.
  2. "WHSmith Literary Awards". Book Awards by J M McElligott. 2002. Retrieved 1 November 2017.
  3. Keneally, Thomas (25 January 1987). "Rogues' Continent: The Fatal Shore by Robert Hughes". New York Times Books. Retrieved 2 June 2014.
  4. "Book awards: WH Smith Literary Award". Retrieved 8 November 2012.
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